Birth Experience. Maybe. Cheering Squad. Definitely!

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how birth experiences influence breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I have been thinking about this post a lot for the past day or so. Beyond just my own birth experiences  (which by the way were like night and day and you can read all about them here) to birthing in general and how we put a lot of emphasis on HOW we birth our children and how this affects our breastfeeding relationships.

I won't go into a whole lot of details, but suffice it to day that, YES, there are many factors during childbirth that can hinder the beginnings of breastfeeding. The most common culprits being, medications, induction, use of forceps and vacuum extraction, cesarean section, early separation of mom and newborn, suctioning, bathing,and premature births. But that being said, there are plenty of mothers who have had one or more of the above interventions and then gone on to have very successful breastfeeding relationships. So, is there really a guaranteed way to make sure breastfeeding 'works'?

What if you do everything 'RIGHT' and then breastfeeding still doesn't work for you? My good friend, Shannon, did just that. She had issues with breastfeeding her first two and attributed it to the not so ideal hospital births she had had with them. The birth of her third child was the complete opposite. It was a beautiful home birth,surrounded by her family, her birthing team and her closest friend. She did everything right! A natural water birth, immediate skin to skin contact with her beautiful newborn baby girl, no medications or interventions whatsoever. And then......another unsuccessful go at breastfeeding. Or maybe not... please read all about Shannon's amazing story of perseverance HERE and decide for yourself.

I think it is a mother's duty to be and get informed. About her choices in childbirth and about breastfeeding. And sometimes that stuff is just not in the books. Seek outside advice and help. Hire a doula to be an advocate for you and your birth and your immediate breastfeeding choices.  Attend a La Leche League meeting BEFORE you have a baby and ask the mothers there what they wish they had known about birth and breastfeeding before they had their babies. Learn from the mothers before you.

And do have a plan! With my firstborn, we did not have the option of having a birth plan. It was a high risk pregnancy and we were just prepared for whatever needed to be done for the baby's safety and for mine. That ended up being an induction at 35 weeks and a 3 and a half pound baby who was taken to NICU within minutes of his birth. Breastfeeding that child was not an easy task for a multitude of reasons, but we persevered, eventually got the hang of it and kept it up for three whole years! With my second child I had a PLAN! A full page of typed out requests from my birthing team. It was signed by my doula, my OB and my husband and I and I know for a fact that it was read by every nurse and resident who took care of us that day.

Did everything go according to plan that day? Well, no, not everything. But my wishes were well known by everyone involved. I did not want any medications and I did not want my child to have any interventions (suctioning, bathing, Vitamin K eye gel) before I had a chance to hold and breastfeed her. In the end, I needed some Nitrous Oxide to make it from 8 to 10 cm, and my baby did need some suctioning because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. They held of on the eye gel and bathing her until much later and I am happy to say that she latched on like a pro, just 40 minutes after she was born!

Mamas,I guess what I am trying to say here is that I truly believe that the key to breastfeeding is support. Not necessarily how or where you birth your child, but who you have to turn to when you need help with breastfeeding. Be it your spouse/partner, your doula, your doctor, your lactation consultant, your LLL leader , generous milk donors or your other mama friends, just please have a support network, your proverbial 'cheering squad' in place. And also know that my "cyber" door is always open if you are struggling and need someone to go to for a sympathetic ear, for resources, for a point in the right direction or for a simple "You CAN do this!"

Because I have been there.

Natasha~


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Word of the Day: Eco-Breastfeeding

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about the environment and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


My boobs are green!

Yup. There it is. I said it.

Breastfeeding is the way to 'go green' as a new parent! No fancy packaging, no preservatives, 100% organic, completely biodegradable and also a very sustainable and renewable environmental choice! Kermit had it all wrong. It is SO easy being green! (And by easy, I mean really, really hard sometimes!!)

In all seriousness, today's post is about the environment and whether or not it is or was something that I considered when deciding to breastfeed. To be completely honest, no, it was not a major factor in my decision-making. I had a 3.5 pound premature baby, he needed all the advantages he could get and my colostrum and then breastmilk were the magic potions that made him better, bigger and stronger each and every day until we could bring him home from the hospital. And then every day after that for three full years!

Was it nice that I did not have the hassle of buying a whole cupboard full of bottle feeding paraphernalia? Yes. Did I miss out on having to choose the best brand with the right combination of synthetic nutrients from the HUGE section of highly packaged, incessantly marketed and ever-present baby formula at the grocery store? Hell, NO. Did I save some money on water because I did not have to boil it, use it for washing bottles and nipples three times a day and whatever else is needed to ensure that my baby's food was made 'just right"? Perhaps.

There are so many reasons that mothers choose to breastfeed their children, just like there are also many reasons why some women choose to use artificial milks to feed their children. I think that the environmental impact of breastfeeding is kind of like the gravy on top of a really nice piece of turkey breast (hee hee!) and mashed potatoes. It's a bonus! Yes, it makes everything taste a little bit better, but is not the main reason for eating the meal.

That being said, breastfeeding is actually quite environmentally friendly (see all the reasons above) and next time someone asks you about it or questions your decision to breastfeed, you can just say that you are not only doing your part for your child, but for all the future generations of children on our dear Mother Earth!!

I love being green!

Natasha~

When green is all there is to be It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful And I think it's what I want to be

~Kermit the Frog


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Mothers Before Me: Lessons for a New Life.

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how the mothers before you influenced your choice to breastfeed. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I know that I was breastfed as an infant. For all of six weeks. And then my mother had an acute case of appendicitis and had to have surgery and was told she could no longer nurse me. This was in 1972 and she was a 21-year-old new wife, new mom and a person who was not, nor has ever been one to question the wisdom of her doctors. And that was the end of our breastfeeding relationship.

She had three more children in quick succession after me and all three of them were breastfed for at least 6 months each, if not longer. We lived in the country, my dad was a ranch hand on a cattle farm and I guess if it was good enough for the cows and horses then it was good enough for the kids! And we were kind of dirt poor too and that formula stuff was more than we could realistically afford!

I mostly remember seeing my youngest brother nurse. I was four years old when he was born and I remember my mom always saying that Desmond was born on the breast and never left it! I also have a very clear image of my mother giving myself and my two younger brothers baths together and "squirting" us with her milk. Oh, don't make faces, it was a fun bath time game back then!

To be perfectly honest aside from my own mother, I don't remember seeing other mothers nursing while I was growing up. I was born in the early 70's and perhaps the big breastfeeding resurgence of the late 1970s and 1980s had not hit our local hospitals yet, or maybe the fiasco of formula marketing that Nestle and other formula manufacturers had unleashed on third world countries was not yet common knowledge. Whatever the case and reasons for it, breastfeeding was just not something that I saw a lot of, nor was it something that was talked about either.

I don't think that I thought much about breastfeeding or really started to notice whether or not people were indeed doing it until I was pregnant with my first child. It was a complicated pregnancy with a few months of bedrest and a guaranteed premature delivery and I had a lot of time to read about what I needed to do to ensure a healthy and strong baby. Breastfeeding was number ONE on that list!

Unfortunately, no amount of reading about breastfeeding can ever fully prepare you for the full experience itself. And I have to say that it wasn't until I met other committed breastfeeding mothers at my local La Leche League and SAW for myself how normal and wonderful and amazing of an experience it truly could be, that I fully appreciated how important it is for all women, of all ages, to SEE for themselves breastfeeding in action and know that it is a normal and incredibly awesome way to nurture and nourish a child.

Today the kids and I had lunch with a good friend, her 4-year-old daughter and her 8-week old little baby girl. As we were all getting ready to leave the baby woke up and started to get all fussy and was full on crying by the time we made it to our respective cars. My two and a half year old {nursling} daughter turned and said to me, "Mommy, Baby P is hungry and needs to nurse on her mommy's boobies."

'Nuff said.

My job is done.

Natasha~

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

~Mahatma Ghandi


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.